The Lion in Winter


Action / Drama / History / Romance / War

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

Rafe Spall Photo
Rafe Spall as John
Patrick Stewart Photo
Patrick Stewart as Henry
Glenn Close Photo
Glenn Close as Eleanor
1.5 GB
English 2.0
24 fps
2 hr 46 min
P/S 3 / 8

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by winstonfg9 / 10

Makes me wonder how Close and O'Toole might have been...

It's been a long time since I saw the "original" (film, that is),but I think this version stands up very well. The script, of course, is sumptuous, and the actors clearly enjoy themselves with it. The production also seems less stagey than what I remember of the 1968 version, something which is often difficult to achieve on the small screen.

For me, Glenn Close's Eleanor was superb - possibly even better than Hepburn's; but I'd have to see the original again to make sure. She interprets the transitions between scheming power-broker, desolate prisoner and wistful "ex" with a naturalness that I don't remember in the original, yet somehow still manages to deliver the comic lines (and there are plenty) with the timing of a master. And there were only a couple of occasions when I detected any hint of Hepburn's shadow.

As for Henry: I like Patrick Stewart a lot, but I'm not sure this was his role. He's always seemed a little brittle when it comes to passion; and if there's one thing Henry was, it was passionate. There are also times when he comes across as declamatory (probably the Shakespearean training) and, while O'Toole could probably be accused of the same thing, I missed his energy. It's also plain that he is older than Close, when in fact Henry was 11 years younger than Eleanor (and that was a lot in those days). That said, he makes a good fist of it; and some of the exchanges between the two of them are memorable.

Where this production really scores though is in its drawing of the smaller characters. I hardly even remember what the sons were like in the original, but here they all have distinct personas; with Andrew Howard's Richard the standout. Rafe Spall even manages to flesh out the character of John - by James Goldman's own admission, the worst written of all of them - and John Light's unloved, Machiavellian Geoffrey is perfectly believable. Johnathan Rhys-Myers' ambivalent Philip also hints at the savvy of a man who would go on to become one of France's greatest kings. Only Yuliya Vysotskaya, as Alys, seemed slightly weak - too timid for a princess of France for me - but that probably has more to do with the script than anything.

Maybe I'm just a sucker for historical drama, but I thought this was an excellent (and brave, considering the original) effort at depicting two of the most powerful and interesting figures of their time.


Reviewed by TheLittleSongbird8 / 10

Battles in the family

Saw this 2003 television adaptation of 'The Lion in Winter' primarily for the cast. It is very difficult to go wrong with talent such as Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close, the two sounding on paper perfect for their roles and being fine actors in their own right. Interesting too to see how Andrey Konchalovskiy would fare with a more intimate setting and story.

Another main interest point was seeing how it would compare to the 1968 film with Peter O'Toole and Katharine Hepburn. Am another person who considers that a masterpiece, one of the best films that year and towards the top of the decade too. The play is wonderful, with the film being a fine adaptation of it. Seeing the 2003 version, some people will say that it is vastly inferior. Don't agree personally. It's not quite as great, but it is a more than worthy version that shows respect and is great on its own merits.

It may not quite have the wit of the 1968 film, taking itself a touch too seriously in spots and there are instances of some garish costuming and moments of camera work restlessness. The good things are many and in quantity they're hardly tiny.

'The Lion in Winter' (2003) is generally handsomely mounted and evocative, simple rather than huge in budget but not simplistic, the scenery being especially striking, and the photography brings this out beautifully. Konchalovskiy directs with surprising subtlety and does well in creating an intimacy and tensions between the actors, allowing the drama to resonate and simmer. The music fits well and doesn't intrude, actually being true to the period too like with the festive medieval court revels.

Don't really need to say an awful lot about the script, it adheres close to the 1968 film and source material script, which is brilliant writing. It captures the tensions, wit and nuances remarkably, lacking sharpness occasionally, and is very thought-provoking. The storytelling is deliberate in pace but not dull at all, the passionate chemistry and emotions, as well as the writing, drive it, especially in the stiller and more intimate scenes.

Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close had to face impossible competition and not only did they live up more than admirably they also gave splendid performances in their own right and make Henry and Eleanor compellingly real people. Stewart is forceful, authoritative and authoritative, but Close has the more challenging role and more to live up, it is an intensely committed and ferocious performance not without its nuances and with much class. Their chemistry is often dynamite.

Rest of the cast are near-perfect. John Light's subtly Machiavellian Geoffrey and Jonathan Rhys Meyers' fascinatingly entertaining and layered Phillip stand out, though Andrew Howard brings some gravelly gravitas to Richard and Yuliya Vysotskaya is a luminous Alys. Only Rafe Spall as John disappoints, John is problematically written in the play admittedly but Spall doesn't look comfortable and generally plays him with very little presence and too much of an idiot, and then he overacts other parts to the point of almost annoying parodying.

Summing up, well worth watching if not definitive. Don't let the deceptive marketing of the DVD fool you though. 8/10 Bethany Cox

Reviewed by ma-cortes8 / 10

New adaptation for TV from classic film as brilliant as the original

This splendid picture is set in Christmas 1183 , the medieval monarch Henry II (Patrick Stewart who also played Henry's son, Richard the Lionheart , in Robin Hood : Men in thighs , 1993) finds surrounded by astute and ambitious relatives who want to regain politic and egoistic rewards . The king pretends announce his heir and he invites his estranged wife Eleanor of Aquitaine (Glenn Close) imprisoned by conspiracy , there also comes the mean King Philip II of France (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) . Both of whom confront wits over the succession to the English throne and much else . The heir election between the three sons , the valiant Richard (Howard) , the opportunist Geoffrey (Light) and the the vain , useless John (Spall) to be originated intrigues , blackmails and hates . The grown brothers are fraught with tension , rapidly changing alliances and completed with a cutting edge psychological manipulation . In spite of possession a kingdom spread all Great Britain and halve France , there's one thing which Henry II never could to control : his own family .

The film is inspired by true events , thus occurred certainly the sons' rebellion incited by Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine for the marriage to King Henry II inherited the occidental France ; however , the coup failed and Henry ordered her entry into a convent but she was freed when died Henry and then Richard Lionheart was crowned until the third crusade (intervening along with Philip II and Richard conquered Acre) when was crowned John with no Land . This English domain over France will cause an overlong conflict known as ¨Hundred Years War¨ (1339-1453) . Besides , there appears famous knight William Marshall (Clive Wood) and is mentioned the enemy archbishop Thomas Becket whom ordered to kill (played in previous film by Richard Burton and again Henry II performed by Peter O'Toole) . Besides , Philip Augustus II Capeto (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) who truly combated Henry II and his sons Richard and John whom defeated in Bouvines(1214) battle .

This television movie is an excellent costumer drama with superb dialog and magnificently characterized medieval roles . Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close make triumphant characterizations . This is a brilliantly script-written picture , being rendered from his own play by James Goldman . The atmospheric and spectacular musical score being magnificently composed by Richard Hartley . Sensational production design by Roger Hall . The film was well directed by Andrei Konchalovsky (Siberiada). The flick will appeal to medieval drama buffs and historical cinema enthusiasts .

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